- Associated Press - Friday, May 27, 2016

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) - A North Carolina wildlife biologist says people living in the Asheville area can expect to see more young bears soon because their mothers are kicking them out to be on their own.

Mike Carraway of the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission told the Asheville Citizen-Times (https://avlne.ws/1UiuvwK) that the cubs are about a year and a half old. Carraway said the mother bears are kicking their children out so they can mate again, and the cubs are now prowling around and getting into trouble.

The young bears will likely continue to be more visible throughout the summer.

“Typically the season when we see the most bear activity is between Memorial Day and Labor Day anyway,” Carraway said.

Several areas of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park remained closed this week due to bear activity. That includes the Spence Field Backcountry Shelter, where a bear bit a hiker more than two weeks ago.

A park spokeswoman said officials haven’t located the bear involved in the attack.

In addition to the Spence Field closure, the Russell Field Shelter and Mt. LeConte Shelter along with a campsite at Gregory Bald and a campsite at Walnut Bottom in the park were closed due to bear activity, according to the park website. Several other areas of the park have bear warnings in place.

Park officials say bears can have a hard time finding enough food in May and June. As berries and other summer foods start to become available “we historically see less aggressive bear behavior after that point,” according to a news release.

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Information from: The Asheville Citizen-Times, https://www.citizen-times.com

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